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HPA issues winter malaria warning

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The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has warned that winter tourists must have anti-malaria tablets if they are visiting a country where the deadly disease is a problem.

Despite most cases of malaria being diagnosed during the summer, the organisation is keen to point out that 20% are actually discovered between December and January.

It has also stressed the importance of having proper certified anti-malaria medication, highlighting the fact there is no evidence that homeopathic remedies are effective at either treating or preventing the disease.

African countries are a popular winter destination for British travellers, with most of the malaria cases originating in Gambia being reported between October and January.

The HPA has revealed that so far in 2011 there have been 31 incidents of malaria related to the country, with 18 of them emerging since October.

This year Kenya has also been highlighted as a dangerous destination for malaria, with 25 cases this year.

Dr Jane Jones, a travel health expert at the HPA, said: “People booking last minute holidays should seek pre-travel health advice as soon as possible as, although not ideal, it is still possible to receive appropriate preventative treatment.”

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